About this subject
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The law of corporate insolvency plays a significant role in a modern economy. Recent economic downturns, coupled with high-profile corporate collapses, have emphasised its importance. But several parliamentary and other enquiries have highlighted its shortcomings, and the effectiveness of recent law reform initiatives remains to be seen.
This subject, taught by a lawyer who practises day-to-day in the area and by two recently retired judges, the Hon Simon Whelan QC and the Hon Julie Dodds-Streeton QC, takes a practical approach. It will be of particular relevance to practitioners whose work involves insolvency and related issues—whether from the ‘back end’ (eg litigators) or ‘front end’ (eg transactional, banking or property lawyers).
Students will be expected to have some background knowledge in the subject matter before enrolling. At the least, they should have or obtain (for instance, by previous study in corporations law or by pre-subject reading) a general familiarity with the formal regimes (i.e. liquidation, administration and receivership) and relevant statutory provisions as a backdrop against which to consider the topics and issues covered in the course.
Principal topics include:
- Foundations of insolvency law: history, philosophy, policies and principles
- The meaning of “insolvency”; winding up, the powers and functions of liquidators
- Distribution of assets: parri passu; the ranking of claims; priority creditors; the effect of security
- Avoidance of antecedent transactions; combatting “phoenix” activity
- Insolvency of corporate groups: directors’ duties; insolvent trading; pooling
- voluntary administration and deeds of company arrangement (DOCAs)
- Receivership: intersection with other insolvency regimes
- Restructuring and rescue: schemes of arrangement, DOCAs, and informal mechanisms.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject will:
- Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the legal principles governing corporate insolvency
- Be capable of applying those principles in practical scenarios
- Have a detailed understanding of the formal Australian corporate insolvency procedures (liquidation, receivership and administration) and an appreciation of various informal procedures
- Develop a sophisticated appreciation of the societal implications of insolvency and the scope of practical issues that arise in corporate insolvencies
- Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding corporate insolvency laws to relevant specialist and non-specialist audiences
- Be an informed participant in debate regarding emerging and contemporary issues in the field
Last updated: 31 January 2024